Matthew Greenberg, a real estate agent hired to demolish an empty Mount Washington cottage near the top of Canyon Vista Drive in Los Angeles, discovered tens of thousands of maps stored in the 948-square-foot cottage.
Greenberg recently had read a Los Angeles Times article about the Central Library's map collection and invited Glen Creason, the library's map librarian, to view the maps.
Creason estimated the collection included at least a million maps which dwarfed the library's 100 year map collection.
He expects cataloging and organizing the maps would take a year or longer.
The collection includes a 1956 pictorial map of Lubbock, Texas; a 1942 Jack Renie Street Guide of Los Angeles; four of the first Thomas Bros. guides from 1946; and several “Mapfox” Los Angeles street guides published in 1944.
Also found was pocket-size “Geographia Authentic Atlas and Guide to London and Other Suburbs,” showing streets, parks, lakes and rivers that Creason dated as pre-World War I.
In addition to the collection of foldout street maps, wall-size roll-up maps, a giant plastic topographical map of the United States and several old globes were stored on top of book cases.
The acquisition will rank the city library as one of the country's top five library map archives which include the Library of Congress and New York, Philadelphia and Boston public libraries.